Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Visita Iglesia 2011


Holy Week 2011...have you decided the churches you plan to visit? However before doing anything else take time to read this article from Sambuhay on the practice of Visita Iglesia

Visita Iglesia
Taken from Sambuhay

Visita Iglesia or "church visit" is the practice of visiting different churches after the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday. This custom originated from the practice of the early church in Rome to visit seven basilicas for Adoration of the blessed sacrament. These churches are the following: Saint John Lateran, Saint Peter, Saint Mary Major, Saint Paul Outside the Walls, Saint Lawrence Outside the Walls, Holy Cross in Jerusalem, Saint Sebastian Outside the Walls (replaced by John Paul II with the Sanctuary of the Madonna of Divine Love in 2000).

This practice is confirmed by the sacramentary of the Roman rite which says: "The faithful should be encouraged to continue aoration before the Blessed Sacrament for a suitable period of time during the night, according to local circumstances, but there should ne no solemn adoration after midnight." Therefore, during the visit to the Blessed Sacrament, the faithful should "adore the Blessed Sacrament," and should not pray other devotions which may not lead them to praise the Lord, truly present in the Blessed Sacrament. Thus the Visita Iglesia is not intended to just see the beauty and creativity shown in the altar of repose of different churches, nor to simply present petitions, desired to be granted by the Lord because of the devotion or sacrifice made.

However, the Visita Iglesia that was introduced to the Filipinos by the Spanish colonizers, is not only a devotion to adore the Blessed Sacrament. It is also the contemplation of the fourteen stations of the cross. This hopefully can dispose the people to celebrate more meaningfully the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ. Seven churches are usually visited, praying two stations per church. Others visit fourteen churches, praying one station per church.

Considering the theology of the Eucharistic Adoration, the faithful are supposed to "adore the Blessed Sacrament" during the "Visita Iglesia. The Via Crucis or way of the cross may be prayed, provided that the contemplation on the mysteries in the life of Christ that are reflected on this devotionm. should lead them to give glory, honor and praise to the Lord, present in the Holy Eucharist.

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